Batter Licker

September 2, 2011

bibimbap (korean mixed vegetable and brown rice salad with spicy-sweet chili pepper paste)

A three-day weekend is upon (most of) us, and this time around, that means Jay and I will be attending no less than 5 different get-togethers with family and friends. We certainly get our socializing on.

For once, I don’t think I will be cooking for any one of them. (If I am, no one has told me yet, although they could very well be operating under the general assumption that, where meal-time events are involved, I tend to come bearing the fruits of my kitchen labor. I should probably hit the market tomorrow just in case.) But if I find out that someone would like me to contribute a dish, I would be delighted to throw together this version of bibimbap, mostly because it can be thrown together quite quickly while still delivering an unexpectedly flavorful result. Especially for something that is essentially a mixed veggies and rice salad.

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In my favorite Korean restaurants, bibimbap is served in an extremely hot stone bowl, coated with just a bit of sesame oil that causes the cooked rice to develop a delicious toasted crispiness around the edges. But the beauty of this dish is that everything can be prepared in advanced, and it will still function equally well at room temperature or slightly chilled, making it well-suited for potlucks and barbecues but more interesting than the starchy side dishes typical of those types of events.

This time around, I cooked up some brown rice, then tossed grated zucchini and carrots in toasted sesame oil for a 2-minute saute. Arrange the zucchini, carrots, cucumber, and kimchi (and meat, if you choose to use some – and it would be a wonderful use for leftovers from one of the inevitable barbecues happening this weekend) in colorful patches over the brown rice for a presentation that’s much more beautiful than the haphazard mess I threw down for an impromptu dinner. Plop a few fried eggs on top – one for each person.

But please, for the love of visual appeal, let guests individually douse their bibimbap in the spicy-sweet gochujang (Korean chili paste) for less of a bloody roadkill appearance than what I did here while under extreme duress due to threats coming from my growling tummy. (more…)

April 27, 2011

sprouted bean coconut curry soup

Several friends of mine have been singing the glory of Heidi Swanson’s Coconut Red Lentil Soup for over a year. Now that I finally saddled up and made a variation of that soup, I’m inclined to join their joyful chorus.

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Truth be told, I’m a sucker for anything containing coconut milk and curry. But the beauty of this soup is that its complex and addictive flavor comes together in a relatively simple process – even simpler if you have leftover sprouted (or unsprouted) beans or lentils on hand. (more…)

April 4, 2011

mexican carrot slaw

Filed under: mexican,salad,vegan,veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , — Kristen @ 3:11 pm

When I made Smoky Black Bean and Spinach Soup last week, it was not quite so grey and cold out as it has been of late. Instead, a warm and sunny day had shifted into a temperate and windless evening, which is unusual by San Francisco standards. I blame this sudden change into decidedly spring-appropriate weather for creating my otherwise inexplicable craving for carrots on that soup-dedicated evening. Seriously … who ever really craves carrots?!?

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To satisfy my desire for the crunchy and sweet root vegetable, I quickly ran a carrot against a coarse grater. To tie it in with the Mexican flavor profile of the soup and balance out the sweetness of the carrot, I added some fresh cilantro, tart lime, smoky cumin, and spicy hot sauce. (more…)

May 14, 2010

fried rice

Filed under: chicken/turkey,eggs,rice,veggies — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:47 pm

It’s been an I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking kind of week. Even after making a special trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy a few simple ingredients for the night’s dinner, I was thisclose to ordering take-out.

And after last Friday’s fabulous 9-course tasting menu birthday dinner at The Ritz (thanks, Jay!), who could blame me for being in a bit of a cooking slump? When am I ever going to have sashimi, quail egg, abalone, veal, lobster, quail, and foie gras again during a single meal? On the other hand, if I ate like that on a more frequent basis, I’d only be able to eat twice a week – that’s how full (and satisfied!) I felt afterward.

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After feeling full all of last weekend, this week has been a week of relatively simple eating. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and easy-to-put-together dinners. I’ve been loading everything with fresh produce, and fried rice – despite its greasy-sounding name – is no exception.

Did you know that fried rice can be delicious comfort food without being overly oiled-up and unfresh? It can also be loaded with your choice of fresh veggies, (more…)

April 26, 2010

vietnamese rice noodle salad with shrimp and fresh veggies (bún tôm xào)

I was first introduced to bún at Nhu Y while having a meal with Jay’s parents, and I was hooked instantly. A Vietnamese salad composed of rice vermicelli, vegetables, herbs, and marinated meat, bún is a great way to incorporate a variety of fresh, raw vegetables into a meal.

Ever since then, I’ve been trying – to no avail – to find an equally fresh, well-marinated-and-made bún in the city because sometimes, I just don’t have the time to drive down to San Jose to satisfy my cravings for Nhu Y. But on those days, this fresh and easy recipe does the trick to hold me over until my next South Bay bún adventure.

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My version falls just a tad short of the incredible bún served at Nhu Y, where I have no doubt that they spend much more time marinating the meat and vegetables. But this version is still tasty enough that I choose not to halve the recipe because I look forward to having the leftovers around for lunch the next day or two.

The bright, spicy dressing clings to the veggies as carrots, cucumbers, and bean sprouts play hide-and-seek among the rice noodles and shrimp. (more…)

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